Roseland, N.J. (March 12, 2003) -- J.H. Cohn, a $65 million CPA firm in Roseland, N.J., is merging with The Videre Group, a $22 million firm in Parsippany, N.J., to create a super-regional Northeast practice that will be far and away the largest in metropolitan New York.The two firms have an agreement in principle to merge into a combined J.H. Cohn. The estimated $87 million firm created would rank 22 on Accounting Today's Top 100 Firms list, and No. 1 in the New York area ahead of Eisner, which reported $71 million in Accounting Today’s 2003 Top 100 Firms report.

"The combination of our two firms gives us the critical mass we need to further expand in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut," said Tom Marino, chief executive of Cohn, who will retain that title. Videre chief executive David Talesnick will become president of J.H. Cohn Consulting, a Videre spokesman said.

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"Cohn picks up some real entrepreneurial partners at Videre, and Videre gets a much larger platform," said Allan Koltin, the practice management consultant who helped coordinate the merger. He further noted that the deal's timing enables the new Cohn to pursue large privately-held companies and smaller public ones, which may be looking for new accounting firms in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley law that restricts the services firms can provide to their audit clients.

The major downside, according to Koltin: "Videre has done a great job in building its brand name. We'll have to see what happens to that name." The deal is expected to close in four to six weeks, according to a statement from the two firms.

Cohn reported $65 million in 2002 revenue in its listing in Accounting Today's Top 100 Firms report. Videre reported $21 million, but subsequently made an acquisition that increased its 2002 net to $22.2 million.

This is clearly the largest accounting firm merger since the 2001 combination of the former Baird Kurtz Dobson and the former Olive to create BKD, which ranks 12th in the Top 100 with $210 million in 2002 revenue.

- John M. Covaleski

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